Video doorbells are all the rage these days, even though porch cameras have raised concerns about privacy and other issues. I'm not convinced they're as effective at as an outdoor security camera, as the latter are more easily spotted at a distance and more identifiable for what they are. You also have a lot more options for positioning a security camera, whereas a doorbell needs to reside, well, by your door.
That said, if you've priced any of Nest Hello will run you $200-230. Which begs the question: Can a $44 video doorbell possibly be any good?, you know that the first-gen Ring sells for $100, while newer Ring models and Google's
Let's find out. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Cheapskate readers can get the Akaso Video Doorbell for just $43.99 when you apply promo code YIIOOLB7 at checkout. Regular price: $79.99. Update: Yesterday, there was also an on-page 15%-off coupon that brought the price down to $31.99, but the vendor has since removed it.
Note: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
The Akaso Video Doorbell features a 720p camera (not as good as 1080p, obviously, but decent), two-way audio, night vision, passive infrared (PIR) motion detection, Alexa compatibility and two power options: existing doorbell wiring or included rechargeable batteries. (If you use the latter, make sure to peel the stickers off before charging.)
Sounds good, right? I did some very quick testing and found that the Akaso Video Doorbell works pretty well overall, though it definitely has a couple issues.
It's big -- bigger even than the first-gen Ring, meaning mounting could prove tricky on narrow doorframes. It comes without an indoor chime, and won't make your existing chime ring even if you use the wires from it. (When someone rings the bell, it triggers the app and makes your phone ring.) Interestingly, a card inside the box promises a free wireless indoor chime (or spare set of batteries) if you leave a review.
Although you can save video and snapshots from the live feed to your phone, there's no local-storage option for motion-detection videos; you'll have to pony up for cloud storage (after your free 30-day trial expires). Plans start at $3.99 per month (or $39.99 annually) for 7 days' worth of storage -- competitive rates, but with such an inexpensive doorbell I was hoping to see a free option.
Akaso doesn't say what kind of battery life to expect from the rechargeables, and I haven't used it long enough to even make a guess.
Here's my advice: If you've always wanted to try to a video doorbell but didn't want to invest $100-$230, give this a try. At $43 it's almost embarrassingly affordable. Just be prepared for a bit of a learning curve in the app, and be sure to watch the installation video on the Amazon product page.
CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our , and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.